Dr. Paul Thistle of Toronto has been delivering care at the Salvation Army’s Howard Hospital in Zimbabwe since 1995. And his sterilizer had been there even longer.
In a country where 20% of the adult population is HIV positive, proper sterilization is more than preventative, it is imperative. That’s why in March of 2011, Dr. Thistle eagerly unpacked the two STATIM 5000 autoclaves donated to his hospital by SciCan.
Infection control for 270,000
As the medical director of this 144-bed hospital located in a rural area about an hour’s drive northwest of the Zimbabwean capital of Harare, Dr. Thistle and his staff work constantly to manage infection control.
The Howard Hospital, which was founded in 1923, is the primary referral centre for the surrounding rural population of approximately 270,000. Despite its low resource setting, it sees 75,000 patients a year, has an operating theatre, pharmacy, laboratory, and facilities for x-ray, ultrasound and rehabilitation. But here HIV AIDS, tuberculosis, gastroenteritis, and pneumonia threaten the delivery of even basic care.
2,100 babies a year
A graduate of the University of Toronto’s Obstetrics and Gynecology Program, Dr. Thistle and his team deliver more than 2,100 babies a year, in addition to offering general adult and pediatric services.
HIV, however, remains the number one challenge for this hospital. Beyond improving its sterilization capabilities with donated STATIMs, the hospital has also developed a strong program for counseling, testing and treatment of HIV, in particular for the pregnant population as well as for the general population.